Monuments of Paris

Paris is famous for its monuments and great buildings. I previously talked about the many churches we visited and now, I’d like to share some of monuments and buildings we saw.

The 165 foot high Arc de Triomphe was built between 1809 and 1840 to honour Napoleon’s soldiers. Sitting at the top of the Champs-Élysées, today it is dedicated to the glory of all French armies. You can go to the top of the Arc, but we passed on that, having done it on a trip many, many years ago.

We love to sit in the middle of a road – see Why are we sitting in the middle of the road

The Deportation Memorial remembers the 200,000 French victims of the Nazi concentration camps. It leads you into a space where your only glimpse of freedom is a view of the sky and a tiny glimpse of the river. A hallway is filled with 200,000 lighted crystals and you are reminded as you leave – Forgive, but never forget.

The Grand Palais was built for the Universal Exhibition in 1900 and dedicated “by the French Republic to the glory of French art”. Designated as a historic monument in 2000, it is currently under renovation and will be reopened for the 2024 Paris Summer Olympics.

The Petit Palais is a free museum with a broad collection of paintings and sculptures. As I mention later, art is not our thing but we did enjoy some time in this beautiful building.

Place de la Concorde was Place de la Révolution during the the French Revolution and was the site of multitudes of beheadings during the Reign of Terror – including the beheadings of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette.

The Place is centred around a 3300 year old, 72 foot, 220 ton obelisk – brought here from Egypt in the 1930s. The Place also features the two Fontaines de la Concorde. On the day of our visit, one was spouting green water and the other was dry.

The Louvre Palace is of course the home to some of the world’s most famous art, with over 30,000 works from the ancient world to 1850. We visited the Louvre on our previous visit (and saw the underwhelming Mona Lisa), and we did not feel interested in braving the enormous line-ups to enter on this trip. It was however interesting to the view the Pyramid that has been added since our 1983 visit.

The Pompidou Center houses the Musée National d’Art Moderne. It is an exo-skeletal building with its functional parts on the outside – and color-coded. Interesting to look at….

L’Hôtel de Ville, Paris’ city hall, stands on the spot of city government since 1357. The Renaissance-style building was constructed from 1533-1628 and is currently looking forward to the 2024 Olympics.

Wherever you look in Paris, there are great statues. Here are just a few.

Le Monument à la République
Museé de la Sculpture en Plein Air
Place Saint-Sulpice
Aptly named – Man on a Horse

And hey, did I forget a monument? Oh yes, the one that symbolizes Paris like no other – La Tour Eiffel!

We arrived at the Tower in the late afternoon and watched as it came to life with sparkling lights! It was truly magical! In a later blog, I will tell you about the fun way we waited.

You will note that our tours are notably missing images of the inside of the many wonderful art and history museums. We do not profess to be art lovers or historians, and prefer to spend our time exploring the streets. If interested, you will be able to find multitudes of information in other online and hard copy resources.

We hope you enjoyed this look at some of the monuments and buildings of Paris! More to come on the City of Lights – and great food!


Bev & Harvey

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